I spent my last holiday (this year) on the island of Zakynthos. It was my first visit to this island although I have been to several other Greek islands, and also to the Greek mainland.
I went here with my husband and we spent two glorious weeks enjoying the sunshine and soaking up the atmosphere.
Zakynthos, also known as Zante is named after the legendary Arcadian chief’s Dardanus’s son. It is one of Greece’s Ionian Islands and it is, in fact, the third largest of these islands. The island has an area of approximately 410 km2 and is about 123 km long.
I wasn't sure at first if we should holiday on Zakynthos. We are both in our fifties and I had heard that the island is a destination for young eager party animals. However, I do think that most of these resorts that are known for their clubbing facilities also have many lovely and quieter spots ideal for both couples and families.
We stayed on the outskirts of Laganas and didn’t spend any time at all in clubs!
We had a lovely and relaxing holiday on this island and would love to return here. The August to September weather was hot but not too humid. We found that we were able to walk around a little more than we can in Cyprus at a similar time of year.
Laganas is close to the resort of Kalamaki which also seems to be a pleasant family holiday spot.
The beaches around Laganas and Kalamaki are long and sandy. Here the water is shallow and clear and ideal for children and people like me who aren't strong and confident swimmers.
Motorised water sports aren't allowed around Laganas and Kalamaki as it is a designated conservation area for the loggerhead turtles (Caretta Caretta). The females return to the place where they themselves hatched to lay their own eggs. One can see areas of the beaches marked out as no go areas as these are nests from where the baby turtles will hatch and make their dangerous journey to the sea.
The airport is located at Kalamaki.
The main town of the island is Zante town. We enjoyed our time here visiting the church of St Dionysios, as well as eating out and walking along the harbour.
Zante is small and easy to travel around. The bus service is good and it’s easy to get taxis, which are metered.
There were a series of severe earthquakes in August 1953 which caused extensive damage to the island’s buildings. The worst earthquake reached 7.3 on the Richter scale, while we were on holiday here we felt two tremors and it really did feel weird. On one occasion we were eating dinner when the earth moved! Lampshades shook and lights dimmed slightly. The waiters carried on as usual.
Eating out is enjoyable here. Many restaurants offer a great choice in sea food but really there is something for everyone as the island has been influenced by several nations and tries to cater for all.
Zakynthos is a lovely island.